St. Maarten Receives First US Flight

The first flight out of the US was welcomed today by various representatives from Government, the Tourism Sector and PJIA staff. Photo: PJIA

Philipsburg- St. Maarten on Saturday welcomed its first international visitors from the United States 🇺🇸 of America back to its shores.

A total of 539 passengers arrived at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) today, while a total of 412 passengers were leaving on the various flights. According to PJIA the atmosphere at the arrival of the first Jet Blue flight was ‘cultural, energetic and even emotional’.

A press statement by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA) sent out Friday evening indicated that strict measures have been implement to prevent the importation of Covid-cases into the island by means of flights out of the US.

Passengers are required to fill out an online Health Authorization form, and one of the main entry requirements required is the uploading of a negative PCR COVID-19 lab result, as obtained from a nasal/oral swab specimen through PCR, NAAT or molecular testing performed by a certified lab. COVID-19 tests must be taken within 72 hours before departure.

“To safeguard the residents and visitors from any potential spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with PJIA have established a Health Pre-clearance checkpoint before the Immigration Department to conduct temperature screening, observational screening for persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms, verification of lab results of passengers, and testing upon arrival for persons who were flagged upon arrival for invalid documents, high temperature or other flu-like symptoms. Once flagged persons will be interviewed by the Airport Public Health Medical Staff and may be subjected to mandatory PCR testing”, according to VSA.

French Side

In the meantime, authorities on the French side have decided to implement border controls between the Dutch and French side, in order to prevent tourists from the US to enter the French side.

After initially successfully suppressing the first wave of Covid-infections on the island, as of late there have been a resurgence of cases on the island. This has in the meantime also led to the suspension of medical referrals out of St. Eustatius and Saba.

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